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article imageNasal smear offers a solution as an allergy screening test

By Tim Sandle     Apr 20, 2020 in Science
A new allergy test has been developed by research scientists. The test involves the detection of allergen-specific antibodies in nasal secretions, and it offers a fast and reproducible alternative test method for medics.
For those who do not like blood tests (the traditional skin-prick method), the new test also offers an alternative means for medical staff to take a sample for analysis - by swabbing the nose. In relation to allergy diagnostics and in order to test for allergen tolerance, scientists from the Technical University of Munich have successfully demonstrated how sufficient quantities of allergy antibodies can be measured in nasal secretions, as to provide accurate results.
The new test is aimed at detecting allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis include pollen, as well as mould spores, house dust mites, and flakes of skin or droplets of urine or saliva from certain animals.
To develop the new assay, researchers examined nasal smears drawing upon a method that was originally developed for blood samples. This is based on biochip technology, enabling medical scientists to calculate antibody concentrations for 112 different allergens. The original test was based on a single blood sample.
Pioneered by lead researcher Professor Traidl-Hoffmann, the same molecular diagnostics technology has been applied to measure concentrations of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in the blood and nasal secretions of test subjects. If someone has an allergy, their immune system overreacts to an allergen by producing IgE. These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, triggering an allergic reaction.
These antibodies play a role in certain allergic responses. The researchers studied individuals with and without sensitization to the most common airborne allergens, including dust mite castings, grass pollen and the pollen of birch, hazelnut and alder trees.
The development of the test has been outlined in the journal Allergy. The peer reviewed paper is titled "Nasal specific IgE correlates to serum specific IgE: First steps towards nasal molecular allergy diagnostic."
More about Allergy, Allergies, Nasal, Antibodies, smear test
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